It’s currently week 9 of lockdown as we work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. How are you doing? Is anyone else experiencing a little cabin fever??
As the weather finally warms up and restrictions slowly begin to lift, I’m so grateful for my time outside. The sunshine and fresh blooms seem to make everything feel a little bit less overwhelming.
In recent weeks, many parks and trails have reopened in Ontario. This means that we can get back to nature walks and neighbourhood strolls (as long as we are able to safely practice physical distancing).
If the idea of a walk doesn’t thrill you or your kiddo, how about adding a very simple element to make it feel more exciting? Something like a THEME to turn a simple walk into a creative scavenger hunt?
This week, I’m inviting you to go for a rainbow walk with me! The idea is inspired by @megmakins’ post on Instagram. She has kindly given me permission to share it with you – thanks Meg!
Rainbows are often considered to be a symbol of hope. I really connect with this idea – it’s so hopeful to think of the sun shining through the rain to create a colourful, wonderful display. Rainbows remind me that everyday magic exists. They are also used as a symbol of inclusiveness, connection, and acceptance.
Hope, acceptance, connection, wonder, and everyday magic are all things we can use during these difficult times. That’s why I feel like rainbows are the perfect theme for our activity this week.
So, let’s go for a Rainbow Walk!
Here’s what you need:
- A device that can take photos (phone, iPod, iPad, an actual camera)
- A safe place to go for a walk (make sure to follow any government restrictions, obey any park or trail signs, and only walk in places where you can safely practice physical distancing)
Here’s what you do:
Invite your child to go for a rainbow walk with you. Explain that you are venturing out with the mission of finding everyday objects in each colour of the rainbow. Clarify whether you are sticking to the classic rainbow colours, or if you want to include any “extra” colours like pink, teal, or indigo (a great tip from my friend and colleague Brianna Kestle!)
Every time you find a great example of a rainbow colour, snap a photo of what you see. At the end of your walk, you will have a whole rainbow of colourful photos. For fun, you can add the idea of “bonus points” if you see any complete rainbows on your walk. Here are a few examples I found:
Head off on your adventure. If possible, it might be fun for you and your child to each have a camera. You can take your own photos of the items you find. You will probably notice different things along the way, and even if you photograph the same items, your perspective will be different. If your child is not able to take photos, they can be the creative director and help you to compose the photos.
Since a device will be part of your walk, you might consider setting phones to “airplane mode” so that you aren’t distracted by texts, calls, and emails while you spend time outside with your child.
See the environment around you with fresh eyes! Notice the colours of objects or places you might pass by every day.
Here are the photos from my rainbow walk:
When you get home again, spend a few minutes admiring your photo collection. Talk about your rainbow walk and reflect on the experience together.
If you’re feeling inspired, create a new album on your phone or in an app, and arrange the photos in rainbow order. If you and your child feel comfortable, you might enjoy sharing your photo collection with family and friends through email or social media. It might be fun to challenge cousins or friends to go for their own rainbow walk and share their photo collections.
Repeat as many times as you like! Every time you venture out, there will be new rainbows waiting for you.
- Invite a long-distance friend to participate in your rainbow walk. Coordinate to leave your houses at the same time, and send each other your photos in real time as you find them. I did this with my friend Brianna, and it was so much fun!
- To add an extra challenge, try finding the rainbow colours in order. (You can’t move on to orange until you find something red, etc.)
- If it’s not safe to go for a walk where you live, you can do a rainbow scavenger hunt by looking through an old magazine. Cut out images of each colour and create a rainbow collage.
- If your child is too young for collage and it’s not safe to go for a walk, create a toy rainbow instead! Collect toys of each colour and arrange them in a rainbow shape on the playroom floor.
- Print your photos and create a little rainbow book.
- Choose a more specific theme for your rainbow walk. For example, I went on a rainbow walk where I tried to find a rainbow of municipal spray paint markings (Isn’t it amazing that they use every colour except for purple?). You could also try a street sign rainbow challenge, or a flower rainbow challenge. What other ideas do you have?
Rationale (here’s why I love this activity):
- It provides inspiration to spend time outside and get our bodies moving, which is very important for our physical and mental health
- As Meg pointed out, this activity requires very little planning, but the experience is like a scavenger hunt
- It’s a mindfulness activity, encouraging us to focus on the present moment, to tune in to our sense of sight
- It brings new awareness to and appreciation for our neighbourhoods
- It helps to develop creative thinking and observation skills
- Having a “mission” and something concrete to focus on can help us to take a break from anxious thoughts or worries
- This can be an easy way to experience being “on the same team” with your child or housemate, which might feel really nice if tensions are starting to run high
- A change of scenery is a great way to reset our nervous systems, allowing us to return to tasks like schoolwork with renewed focus
Some things you might talk about:
- What does the symbol of the rainbow mean for you? Do you have any associations with it?
- How did it feel to have a “mission” for your walk?
- Which colour was/is the hardest to find?
- Which colour of the rainbow do you feel the most connected with today?
- Did you notice anything on your walk that you have never noticed before?
- Notice and appreciate the differences between you and your child/ friend/ partner’s photos. Explore your different perspectives by looking through your photos.
- Do you find that after your walk you are more attuned to the colours of things? Are you noticing rainbows around your house too?
- Did any feelings come up during your adventure? Maybe excitement at finding the perfect item? Or frustration when there was just one colour left? How did you manage these feelings?
- Check in with how you feel after completing the activity. Have there been any shifts? Do you feel more or less energized compared to when you started? Do you feel more or less stressed? Do you feel more or less creative?
- Can you think of any other themes for photo walks that you would like to try?
If you would like to share your rainbow photos, I would love to see them! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on Instagram (@resourcefulmearttherapy).
Written by Rubi Garyfalakis, DTATI, RP, RCAT